Friendship is a wonderful thing, especially between like-minded artists. Drops and Umber have both been reviewed on our site, and their split EP is a happy reminder of what called them to our attention in the first place. Their positive energy is contagious: heads will nod, fingers will snap, faces will smile. The EP may have been released in October, but the music of these artists makes it feel like summer never ended.
When dividing a dessert, common wisdom dictates that one person cuts the dessert in half while the other one decides which piece they prefer. The same principle is apparent on the EP, which billed as Umber/Drops but begins in the opposite order.
Both artists use guitar and glockenspiel, suggesting that they might seem similar to the ear; instead they come across as distinct and complimentary. Drops is the party in full swing; Umber is the group of friends that breaks off from the larger party. Drops is margaritas with salted rims; Umber is a selection of fun wines. Drops is the sky filled with fireworks; Umber is the blaze of a beautiful sunset. Drops is joyful ebullience; Umber is thankful reflection.
The one-two flourish of “Together” and “Flying Colours” kicks off the EP in grand style. We hear the handclaps that we loved so much on last year’s Believe You Me EP. Chimes, coos and birds enter like old friends. Conversation flows freely. But as the dishes are put away, the children are carried to bed and the stars begin to multiply, a feeling of gratitude emerges. Umber introduces this shift with the thoughtful “The Air Does Not Touch It” and continues it with “Clemence”. The music even retreats for a short stretch of the former track, like volume being lowered as a gesture of good will for next-door neighbors. “Clemence” bears the EP’s softest tones ~ a sweet goodnight with a gentle hug, a wish to get home safely, and a promise to meet again soon. (Richard Allen)